Islamabad  - National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) on Thursday recommended implementing the existing anti smoking bill through administrative order of the ministry, instead of bringing an amendment in it.

The NA body meeting held under the chairmanship of Member National Assembly (MNA) Dr Hafeez-ur-Rehman Khan Drishak discussed ‘The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health (Amedment) Bill, and ‘The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on its agenda.

Officials from the Ministry of NHS briefing told the committee said that the amendment in the existing bill will restrict its jurisdiction in the territory of the federal capital, while the current law could be implemented all over the country.

The officials said that federal ministry will lose its authority on provinces regarding implementation of the law. Meanwhile, the officials also admitted that law to control the sale and purchase of loose cigarette packet has not been exercised in full capacity.

Minister NHS Saira Afzal Tarar supporting the advice of officials said that, smoking in open areas could be controlled by brining Statutory Regulatory Orders (SRO). She said that in the existing law, provinces and district administration are directed to control the excessive and illegal use of cigarettes. Member committee MNA Col (Retd) Dr Amirullah Marwat said that the anti-smoking law is violated openly everywhere including the educational institutes.

The mover of the bill, Dr Nikhat Shakkeel Khan though opposed the suggestions by the NHS officials; however the chair recommended bringing the SRO to implement the bill without any amendment.

NA body also summoned the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and Ministry of Capital Administration & Development Division (CADD) in next meeting to take briefing on prevention of sale and purchase of cigarettes in the federal capital.

Federal Minister for health also told the NA body that all health departments working under different ministries in the federal capital will be brought under one umbrella for the facility of patients.

She said that Prime Minister (PM) has principally agreed to form a single administrative board to run the health facilities of the federal capital. The committee was also briefed that during the current fiscal year Rs256million were spent on cancer and heart patients though Prime Minister Health Insurance Program (PMHIP). Officials also said that as per the survey conducted in 2008, around 11million people are suffering with hepatitis while 298 die because of worst impact of smoking.

The Committee was informed that after the 18th Amendment this Ministry was created on 4th May, 2013. After establishing the Ministry, various subjects of “Health” parked in different divisions have been consolidated to meet the challenges of regulation and coordination of efficient, effective and equitable health and population welfare initiatives.

The Committee showed satisfaction with the performance and working of the Ministry and also expressed an interest in taking a detailed briefing on the Prime Minister’s Fatal Diseases Program Fund in its next meeting.

The Committee deferred the “The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues (Amendment) Bill, 2016, moved by Parveen Masood Bhatti, MNA Bill; as mover of the bill was not present in the meeting.

MNAs Dr Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti, Dr Mehreen Razaque Bhutto, Zahra Wadood Fatemi, Ch Muhammad Shahbaz Babar, Shakila Khalid Luqman, Zehra Wadood Fatimi, Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan, Col (Retd) Dr Amirullah Marwat and Dr Nikhat Shakeel Khan attended the meeting.




rahul basharat